Long live rock, I need it every night

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Big Get: Rock Club Interviews 1990s

On Friday, August 3, Rock Club went all Barbara Walters and shit and scored a big celebrity interview with Scottish popsters 1990s. 1990s are Jackie McKeown (guitar/vocals), Michael McGaughrin (drums/vocals), and Jamie McMorrow (bass). Potsy and I found the band relaxing backstage at the Rock and Roll Hotel before their show, noshing on a nice spread of food. Given that Potsy and I are newcomers to the world of the rock star/celebutainment interview scene, we tried to fit in by stopping the interview every five minutes to do lines of coke off of the asses of prepubescent girls, and chuck televisions out the window. We threw so many TVs out that they had to run to Circuit City to pick up a few more.

We found that 1990s had settled nicely into DC, enjoying some Ethiopian food the night before. “The bread…it was like,” Jamie said. Like naugahyde, I suggested? “Yeah, like a leather bowl,” replied Jackie.

Jamie McMorrow (l) and Jackie McKeown (r), 1990s

I informed the band that pretty much my whole knowledge of Glasgow these days came from the Irvine Welsh Trainspotting books. Was it accurate, I asked, that Glaswegians were all simpleton soap-dodgers? Jamie concurred, saying “it’s all true,” without a hint of sadness. “Glasgow and Edinburgh, they don’t get on with each other,” Jackie added. Edinburgh’s really beautiful to look at, but there’s fuck all to do. Glasgow’s very…horrible-looking. I love it though, there’re loads of bars.”

Glasgow may be Edinburgh’s ugly sister, but it certainly has Edinburgh beat when it comes to spawning good bands. Beginning with the Jesus and Mary Chain, and including such luminaries as Teenage Fanclub, Aztec Camera, Franz Ferdinand, The Fratellis, Mogwai, Looper, 1990s are the latest in this genealogy. Glasgow may never live down the shame of Wet Wet Wet and Gerry Rafferty, but at least they’re trying. But according to 1990s, there’s really no “Glasgow sound”, and there’s a reason for that. All those up-and-coming bands hang out with each other, “and the last thing anyone wants to do, is sound like anyone else’s band, because you’ll get laughed out of the city,” says Jackie. “So everybody wants their own sound.”

Speaking of 1990s’s sound, their three-minute rock songs show a marked influence of such 1970s bands/musicians such as David Bowie, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop. “All my favorite music’s from the 70s,” remarked Jackie. So why call yourselves “1990s,” I asked? “Ach, we get that [question] a lot,” replied drummer Michael McGaughrin. “We used to be the 1960s, which was silly, and then we changed it to 1990s, which was even worse, and then we got signed, and we were stuck with it.” Another band influence is The Fall. Have they met Mark E. Smith, I asked? “No, but I love to,” Jamie answered. Jackie wasn’t so sure. “The Fall are a great band but he’s a fucking blowhard these days,” he said, laughing. “He talks complete shite. I hate to say anything against him, but he needs a good slap.” Mark E. Smith, a blowhard? Surely not! Judge for yourself:

Actually, that video proves nothing, but it is funny.

I asked the band about the “You Made Me Like It” video, which features scenes of the band executing some pretty slick moves on the parallel bars. All lies, apparently. “They had a 12-year old boy as my stunt double,” Jackie revealed. Maybe Nike should relocate their sweatshops to Glasgow, because apparently there aren’t any child-labor laws there. The video for “You’re Supposed To Be My Friend” is a quasi-homage to Hard Day’s Night, with hundreds of fans attacking the band, leaving them bruised and bloody. No stunt doubles there, however. “Those people actually kicked our asses, seriously,” Jackie recalled. “The woman who directed, Gina [Birch], said ‘when I say ‘action’, just run on stage and attack them.’ She said “action”, and they ran on stage and attacked us.” On the next take, she mercifully asked the fans to take it down a notch.

Being the hard-hitting rock journalists that we are, Potsy and I decided to fire a missile. In “You Made Me Like It” there’s a portion of the song where Jackie sings, TV cheats, herbal tea, money-back guarantee/Ladytron, Lady Di, how’d you make your baby cry, I informed the band that this laundry list-style shoutout sounded suspiciously like it was cribbed from “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” by Billy Joel, and if there’s one thing a red-blooded American won’t stand for, it’s Scottish cultural imperialists stealing from our uber-hitmaker Mr. Joel. The band ably defended themselves, pointing out that what I heard as “Ladytron” was actually “Lady Drum.” “Like the tobacco,” Michael helpfully added.

Michael McGaughrin, 1990s

Plagiarism controversy defused and our credibility shredded, Potsy and I left 1990s with one final question. How much would you pay to see the Rolling Stones at the Rock and Roll Hotel? We made sure to specify that there would be no time travel involved—this would be the 2007 version, not the 1966 or 1972 versions. It’s our game, dammit. Jackie was the high bidder—“over £70.” That’s like $4000, according to my pounds-to-dollars conversion. Michael was curiously unenthused, saying he’d pay £5, although he later raised that to £8 after Potsy helpfully pointed out that the Stones “were going to die soon.” Jamie’s answer was the most sensible: “I would try and get on the guest list.” Well, fairly or unfairly, the Scots have a rep for being, ahem, “careful” with their money, but you can’t argue with that strategy.


Potsy said...

I feel privileged to have seen the green room at the RNRH. I only wish there were more sex and drugs involved. I was also pleased to have met yet another rock star by way of Laura Burhenn from Georgie James. She was quite nice to chat with, and I also happened to meet her friend Svetlana Legetic from Brightestyoungthings.com who had posted that interview with Red Romance that someone passed around last week. She gave me her card. Her blog has business cards (and sponsors)...

Jumbo Slice, while you missed all the excitement, you should know there were several times when we were nervously setting all this up where one of would say, "What would [Jumbo Slice] do in this situation?"

Jumbo Slice said...

Sounds like quite the evening. Did you talk with Laura* in the green room or in the bar?

I'm touched you guys missed my obessive networking and celebrity suck-up skills. It has taken many years to hone them.

Jimbromski - excellent job on the interview. I nominate you to be the official interviewer for Rock Club.

*smoking hot